Effects of Repetitive lonomycin Treatment on In Vitro Development of Bovine Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Embryos
Huen Suk KIM, Jong Yun LEV, Eun Ji JEONG, Chi Jeon YANG, Sang Hwan HYUN, Taeyoung SHIN and Woo Suk HWANG
To artificially activate embryos in somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), chemical treatment with ionomycin has been used to induce transient levels of Ca2+ and initiate reprogramming of embryos. Ca2+ oscillation occurs naturally several times after fertilization (several times with 15- to 30-min intervals). This indicates how essential additional Ca2+ influx is for successful reprogramming of embryos. Hence, in this report, the experimental design was aimed at improving the developmental efficiency of cloned embryos by repetitive Ca2+ transients rather than the commonly used ionomycin treatment (4 min). To determine optimal Ca2+ inflow conditions, we performed three different repetitive ionomycin (10 pM) treatments in reconstructed embryos: Group 1 (4-min ionomycin treatment, once), Group 2 (30-sec treatment, 4 times, 15-min intervals) and Group 3 (1-min treatment, 4 times, 15-min intervals). Pronuclear formation rates were checked to assess the effects of repetitive ionomycin treatment on reprogramming of cloned embryos. Cleavage rates were investigated on day 2, and the formation rates of blastocysts (BLs) were examined on day 7 to demonstrate the positive effect of repeated ionomycin treatment. In Group 3, a significant increase in BL formation was observed [47/200 (23.50%), 44/197 (22.33%) and 69/195 (35.38%) in Groups 1, 2 and 3, respectively]. Culturing embryos with different ionomycin treatments caused no significant difference among the groups in terms of the total cell number of BLs (164.3, 158.5 and 145.1, respectively). Additionally, expression of the anti-apoptotic Bc1-2 gene and MnSOD increased significantly in Group 3, whereas the expression of the pro-apoptotic Bax decreased statistically. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that repeated ionomycin treatment is an improved activation method that can increase the developmental competence of SCNT embryos by decreasing the incidence of apoptosis.